by Mike Aux-Tinee.
I remember growing up, there were these wild spaces at the end of the street. They would mark the furthest point of suburbia. One step off the concrete and you would be immediately transported to a wild and lawless land that was filled with really cool places to explore. But they were so much more than that!
For those of us who were brave, this place was wonderful. Here, the grass would grow as high as your knees, the bugs and wily animals would be the primary occupants and of course, there would be so many trees.
These places are magical to me. They remind me of my childhood, how my friends and I would run and play and just let loose. You never knew what you would find there because each place was different. Most of the land was used for farming before suburbia clawed its way – inch by inch forward.
I miss a lot about these places and especially the trees. There is something so cool about sitting under them, taking a break from running around and my favorite of all – climbing them to get a better view. As if what I saw – suburbia destroying the next field was worth risking falling and breaking something.
There seems to be this virus permeating through our society and especially through the municipal governments – that there must be more homes, strip malls and huge monster big box stores. Just so more tax revenue can be generated and then wasted on pork barrel projects or worse, given to favorite corporations so they can pad their pockets at the expense of both the tax payers and these green spaces with trees.
So bring in the heavy equipment to bulldoze all the trees down. Then comes the utility companies, developers, and finally you and me to fill in what was created.
It’s a win-win (sort of) for everyone involved or so those making the money tells us. Because we all know, we need another subdivision or strip mall like we need another hole in our head! We cheer the progress, the municipalities cheer the additional tax revenues – as if more money will make things better and then the developers cheer their wonderful creations and look for more places to do it all over.
It really is a never-ending cycle. Suburbia claws its way, tearing up more and more. And from where I sit and my point of view, I think it’s all a big mistake.
Why is that?
Well, we need these green spaces, the trees, and of course, kids like me to play in them. I know, there are ‘special’ places like that we can all congregate in called parks. But they feel sterile, without character and are an attempt to control nature.
I am going to share with you why we need not only to stop cutting down trees (and tearing up the green spaces), but need to be replacing the ones that were torn out.
The trees perform a number of very important functions that, once gone, this place just ain’t going to be the same. In fact, it will be to our detriment not our benefit.
The first thing the trees do is break down the carbon dioxide that is produced. And then through photosynthesis creates energy for the tree to grow and oxygen for you and I to breathe. The trees are cleaning up the atmosphere and producing something that every living thing on the planet needs to survive. Once the trees are cut down, there will be more carbon dioxide and the air will not be as clean.
The second thing trees do, is not only absorb sunlight for their own use but reflect it back into space. This does a number of things for the planet. One, we get bigger trees (which produces more oxygen) they will help keep the temperature of the planet cooler. (No, don’t worry, an ice age is not on the way. It’s about keeping balance.) Trees are an integral part of the cooling mechanism that maintains an equilibrium for life to continue.
Cutting down the trees, the earth will absorb more sunlight and become hotter. This will cause other plants and animals (who can not tolerate the higher temperatures) to die off. When this happens, the environment will begin to change and not for the better.
The third thing trees do is provide a home and food for those wily animals. From the nut producing trees to the older stable trees that birds build their nests in, a tree is a part of a large ecosystem.
It’s not something we actively think about when we look at them. But take a walk in the park, where there is actual woods and just sit, watch and listen. You will find so many animals moving around, searching for food, shelter and various other activities. This is where Mother Nature does her thing and if you cut it all down, the plant and animal diversity will take a sharp nose dive.
Can we stop what we are doing and turn back the clock? No. But we can stop the mindless progress and destruction of trees and the green spaces. I know, that is easier said that done. After all, there is another door buster sale that you just have to get to so you can fill up your house with more stuff. Or give a special someone that must have gadget that they will lose interest in or will break some time down the road. And worst of all, there are those slick talking politicians who will do and say anything to keep you from interfering in their schemes to funnel more tax payer money to their campaign contributors.
It’s not going to be easy, but here is a place that you can start. http://www.arborday.org/